No Fruit Cake

121108End of the year rapidly coming down on us, so much left to do and so little time to do it.  The wife sent me to ChinaMart over the weekend, Saturday to be specific.  Which is not a nice thing to do to the person you love, send them off to a SuperCenter that is packed with all these people trying to find “the” perfect gift for the Holiday Season …. Or as I affectionately refer to it …… Buying copious loads of crap made in China.

Our lives are full of things.

Disposable distractions stuff you buy but you never cherish, own yet never love.  Thrown away in weeks rather than passed down to the next generation.  Perhaps this year things will be a little different, not a whole lot of disposable income floating around this year, unless you are on the government bail-out train, so choices may be made with greater care.  After all, if the fewer things you own always excite you, would you really miss the many that never could?

The absolute worst gift you can give someone is a fruit cake.

Sorry Margaret & Helen, but that is the way I feel about it.  Fruitcakes are evil, when the world finally ends and there is nothing left but charred ashes and bugs, microscopic animals, there will still be at least five perfectly preserved fruit cakes somewhere on the planet.  You see, “there is only ONE FRUITCAKE in the entire world (The Mother of All Fruit Cakes!) and people keep sending that cake to one and another.

As my mentor Dave Barry is prone to say … “The easiest way to make a fruitcake is to buy a darkish looking cake, then pound some old, hard fruit into it with a mallet.  Be sure to wear Safety Glasses.” You can take the rum out of a fruitcake, but you still will have a fruitcake in the end.  So much for the fruitcake section of the post …

I would rather have a good glass of Glogg.  A hot spiced wine and liquor punch served in Scandinavian countries by long legged slender blond headed women wearing thongs and softly humming Christmas Musak …..

Now that is a holiday.

Phoenix – A state Department of Transportation contractor placed a fake police car in a freeway construction zone, authorities said. The contractor used the car with “police” painted on the side to replace state highway patrol officers who were pulled after the highway department decided they were too expensive. Police unions objected to the fake car.

Also in Arizona a holiday scumbag makes off with all the food. Someone made off with thousands of pounds of food meant for needy families. The Marana Community Food Bank collected several thousand pounds of food during a drive over the weekend. But volunteers later found nearly all of it had been stolen. Police have no leads.  That is pretty lame, stealing from those who cannot afford it the least.  I bet there is a special place reserved in hell for someone like this.

Following Florida’s lead, Pennsylvania decided to go with 50% grades instead of zero school policy.  It appears that this was not a good move.  Half wrong doesn’t work Pittsburgh – Public schools officials may have to change a policy that makes 50% the lowest grade students can receive. The policy is meant to help students recover from a bad grade or the occasional missed assignment. Some teachers say that some students are content to get the 50 mark for doing nothing.

There is a higher power guarding the baby Jesus this year, global positioning software and satellite technology.  GPS is now being used to protect seasonal displays at churches and synagogues around the country.  Thieves routinely target the nativity scenes and steal the Jesus figures, menorahs, and Santa’s.  This year they will be tracked using GPS and devices attached to the figures.  Christmas goes High Tech and time moves on.

I notice the Governor of Illinois is offering his resignation for sale on E-Bay.  Any takers?

This is smooth, you will like this one.  A guy walks into Shoney’s Restaurant in Florida and orders potato soup from the menu.  But they give him clam chowder by mistake.  Now this is where the evil nefarious plot thickens, he is allergic to clams, but he eats the soup anyway.

After an allergic reaction that required a visit to the emergency room, he sues the restaurant for giving him “psychological sleep disorders” when they served him the wrong soup.

Want to guess the verdict?

Believe it or not … He won.  But he didn’t get the $4,070 he wanted to cover his medical bills.  The jury said that Shoney’s was only 10% responsible for serving him the wrong soup … But he was 90% responsible for eating it .. and they awarded him $407 which in my opinion is MORE than he deserved.

Get busy!  Time is running out.

What you do now, will help to alleviate the stress of a New Taxing Year on the horizon.  The stocking have been hung by the chimney with care.  The presents have all been wrapped.  You ordered the Christmas Goose from Sarah Palin and it is on the cabinet trying to thaw.  Is there anything left to do before you pour yourself a cozy drink and start celebrating the season.  Of course.

Put down the egg nog and get to work on those taxes, you can send a Christmas Card late, but the IRS never accepts it if it isn’t on time.

Remember, you have a number of car companies, bankers, credit unions, wall street investment firms, insurance companies, wars in foreign countries, aid to countries you cannot locate on a globe.  All of them depending on YOU.

As Joe Biden puts it …. “It is your patriotic duty to offset the troubles of the world.”

Now there’s a guy I would send a fruitcake too.  He would be #one on my list.  All in all, I think the “Glogg” idea is the best, I kind of like that.  A hot spiced wine and liquor punch served in Scandinavian countries by long legged slender blond headed women wearing thongs and softly humming Christmas Musak ….. Now that is a holiday.

Thong!
What a delightful gift idea
Thong!
Magical shorts that disappear
Buy your loved one this noel
The kind of gift you can’t resell
Because it kind of smells
If someone else has tried it on

Thong!

You could be dancing cheek to cheek
Thong!

Wiggle the string play hide and seek
Buy your workmate or your boss
The proctologic dental floss
That really works a hair across
His astronomic bum
Thong

I am really getting into this Christmas stuff this year.

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Thong courtesy of KZOK 102.5 FM

A.I.G.

imagesgoodyear

Remembering a time when life wasn’t all that good for me, and I found myself staring into the mirror, and the guy on the other side said to me, “Baby, you aint much, but you are all I got.”

Kind of stayed with me a long time, that thought or that moment.  If all of this comes crashing down on America, all we are going to have left is each other, that is a sobering thought.

Where are we going to meet, what is going to happen to the majority of folks left over in the ruble of what was once a mighty industrial power?

Where do we meet to discuss things, all of the Starbucks and the local coffee shops, donut shops, all of them are struggling to keep the doors open, what happens when they like the rest of it, fail?  We need some place, those of us in the larger community of citizens with who we actually do share a common fate to meet and discuss issues.

I always believed that Federal Intervention in the marketplace should be essential, that there should be a series of checks and balances in place, to make it all flow, to allow it to work.  The first priorities of any intervention should be to preserve jobs and protect American taxpayers.  That is how, I believed it should work.  But it didn’t, not this time.

Under the deal that government gave A.I.G. which was buckling under by demands for cash from its trading partners, A.I.G was supposed to fare well.  It didn’t.  The government gave them $85 billion dollars on a line of credit.  Which at that time, I thought was a staggering amount of money, but it turns out, this was just pocket change.

So we “bailed out A.I.G.” which was supposed to work.

At the same time however, the government also saddled this outfit with a high excessive interest rate of more than 14%.  Now I know, a lot of you are smiling right now and saying to yourself, “Aw, that aint nothing, you ought to see what I have to pay MasterCard.”  But 14% for a business, is high, it is not astronomical in number, but yet, it is still high.

This is where the government, our government, blew it.

The high rate the government said “was to insure that A.I.G. would pay back the loan quickly” by selling off some business units.  But all it really did was protect A.I.G.’s business and/or trading partners.  It did this at the expense of A.I.G. employee’s and at the expense of taxpayers.

Now A.I.G. so burdened by interest payments will more than likely have to liquidate itself making jobs impossible to keep and decreasing any real likelihood that tax payers will ever be repaid this enormous sum of money owed them.

The insurance giant now in Federal receivership, this week sold A.I.G. Private Bank, which caters to wealthy individuals around the world.  Dubai-based Aabar Investments paid $254 million for the bank.  Investors were not impressed, with A.I.G. shares falling some 7.5% to just $1.86 a share.

A.I.G. has kept taxpayers and shareholders “largely in the dark” since receiving a $152 billion federal lifeline, and its promise to repay the government seems to be losing credibility.”

The company itself was more useful as an employer and a tax payer than it is as a failed business venture.  Its attempted rescue, this hastily thrown together bad deal should have reflected this truth.  Looks like we got the short-end of the stick again.

So it appears the party is over, and it is time to pay for the band.  Bailout recipients are not new to this idea or practice; they do it all of the time.  Struggling companies that have sought bailout money from the federal government this fall were among some of the biggest sponsors of the Democratic and Republican political conventions held in late August and early September.

Politics as usual, when companies such as A.I.G. and CitiGroup helped underwrite the conventions.  In total, private interests donated $118 million for the conventions, more than three times the amount that was used in public money (some $16 million) that was received.

These are the same wonderful people who are now calling for the dismantling of the UAW and demanding the head of the union’s president.  Republicans.  Who have a tried and proven track record of business practice in place for all of America.  Slave wages, total domination of your day to day life and their hand in your pocket each and every time you look the other way.  The band played, the crowd locked arms and swayed, all the time chanting USA! USA! USA! …

Conventions are events where people of the same interests or from the same corporation or political party, get together to exchange pertinent information.  Discuss past activities, evaluate performances, formulate new and improved policies, set short and long range goals, meet important people, and appoint committee members who will be effective in carrying out directives.

That is why they all bring their golf clubs, why they always have plenty of pencils and paper, but are constantly out of swizzle sticks.  But all good things eventually have to wind down and it comes time to settle up.  You can bet your last dollar it won’t be coming out of their pocket.  I mean hell … Someone has to pay for it all … Why not you?

For the better part of the year, this year, I have had very little money in my pocket.  Next year isn’t really looking all that good either, about the only good thing I can find in all of this, is I have the wallet paid for.

See you at the Do-nut shop, providing they can find a way to come out the other side and walk out into the sunshine of what some are referring to as Mr. Obama’s New Deal.

But … Before you decide to leave the house to head out on this new journey in January … I would grab a light jacket just in case.

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